Sunday, May 11, 2014

Malabar Vegetable Biryani

Biryani is  the famous one pot meal that many people loves to eat..Biryani is mostly loved by Arab and Asian countries like Pakistan,Indian,Bangladeshi etc..Biryani do differ from country to country..It is believed that Biryani is introduced by Mughals in India.There are many types of Biryani in India too: Bombay Biryani, Hyderabadi biryani, Thalasherry biryani, Calcutta biryani etc..Among the biryanis, Hyderabadi biryani is the tastiest and famous in North India and whereas Thalasherry biryani is famous in South Kerala...Preparation of spices do differ in most of the states in India..But the process of preparing the biryani is almost same..

Biryani is mostly prepared in a large pot or aluminium/large non stick wide biryani pot.It is prepared by layering of meat ( Chicken/Mutton/Beef) or seafood ( Prawns/fish/squid/mussels) masala and cooked rice alternatively which is decorated with caramalised onions and roasted nuts..  It is cooked in a very slow flame called 'Dum' for 30 to 40 mins, so that the flavour and aroma of masala will infuse with rice..In Kerala too, there is slight variation of spices in masala...

Ok, enough of biryani history :)..Lets move to the Malabar biryani that I am sharing now...I am going to post the biryani of my hometown Kannur or 'Thalasherry Biryani' ...North Kerala or Malabar used short grain rice called 'Kaima/Jeerakashala rice',whereas in South Kerala and North Indian used long grain rice called 'Basmathi rice'...In some places, Kaima rice may not be available, don't worry, you can prepare it with basmati rice..But Kaima rice is tastier when preparing malabar biryani.. Thalasherry biryani is mild spicer...Unlike other biryani, it doesn't use red chilli powder and coriander powder..Main highlight of this biryani is 'garam masala powder or All spice powder'..Only spice which used is chopped or pasted green chillies...

As I said earlier, most commonly used in meat biryani is Chicken,Mutton,Beef and seafood biryani like prawns,fish etc are used ( Will share the recipe for the coming post)..There is vegetable biryani too,which I am sharing now..I think Malabar version of vegetable biryani is rarely prepared as most of them love non-veg version..But its tasty too..You can serve it with raita( yogurt mixed with vegetables) or pickles or any other side dish like chicken fry,fish fry,chilli chicken etc..My hubby is not  much fond of vegetable biryani , I loved it :)..  He is happy when I serve a side dish with  Green Chicken Fry as I post earlier..Sorry for delaying the post of this recipe..

I am going to show you the step by step pictures of preparing Malabar Vegetable Biryani with Basmathi rice, (as kaima rice is not available in my pantry) for beginners..I am trying my level best to explain everything in detail, please do co-operate :) :)..Please prepare as mentioned in recipes, don't add other spices as the taste of Malabar biryani changes..Ok,lets go to the recipe:

  1. For Vegetable Masala:
  • Onions,sliced thinly - 3 large or 4 medium
  • Tomatoes,chopped - 2 large
  • Ginger-Garlic paste - 2 tblsp
  • Green chilli paste - 7 to 8 large green chillies or  10 bird-eye green chillies
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
  • Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp ( Can add it, if your garam masala powder didn't have pepper)
  • Thick Yogurt - 1 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves,chopped - 1 stalk ( reserve half for decorating)
  • Mint leaves,chopped -1/2 stalk ( reserve half for decorating - its optional)
  • Any Vegetables of your choice, cut medium cube - 1 1/2 to 2 cups, I used :                           [Cooked / Frozen Green peas - 1/4 cup , Carrot - 1 diced medium, Potato - 1 medium cubed, Beans - 1/4 cup:cut into medium pcs, Brocolli / Cauliflower - 7 to 8 big florets , Green Capsicum - 1 cut into medium pcs ( you can have mixed colours of red,green and yellow capsicum]
  • Lemon juice - 1/2 of one lime

    2. For Ghee Rice:
  • Basmathi or Kaima rice - 4 cups
  • Ghee/Clarified butter - 1 tbsp
  • Oil - 1 to 2 tbsp
  • Cardamon - 2  no.s
  • Cloves - 3 to 4 no.s
  • Cinnamon sticks - 1/2 inch broken into pcs
  • Water - 6 3/4 cups ( for one cup of rice, use 1 3/4 cup of water)

     3. For Garnishing:
  • Onion, thinly sliced - 1
  • Cashewnut and raisins - few
  • Coriander and mint leaves- reserved remaining halves earlier
  • A pinch of saffron,mixed with 1/4 cup of milk / biryani colour - optional
  • Rose water - few for sprinkling ( optional)


Before preparing masala, soak the basmati rice for atleast 30 mins..If you are using kaima/jeerakashala rice, ignore soaking part( will share the post regarding preparation of  kaima rice later )..Wash thoroughly and drain it
  1. For Vegetable Masala:
  • Pressure cook the Green peas( if fresh) for 2 to 3 whistles till soft..Boil or steam Cauliflower or Brocolli seperately. Drain and keep aside.
  • Add oil in a pressure cooker and add sliced onions and saute till translucent.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for few seconds.
  • Add tomatoes and cook till mushy.
  • Add turmeric pdr,garam masala powder,pepper powder ( optional) and salt and saute well.
  • Add chopped coriander and mint leaves and saute well.
  • Add yogurt and mix well.
  • Add 1/4 cup of water and pressure cook for 3 whistles..(Pressure cook without adding vegetables at this stage,otherwise veggies will be overcooked..This is done in order to get masala in pasted form).
  • When the pressure releases, add vegetables except cooked green peas and brocolli/cauliflower.Mix it and pressure cook for 1 whistle at high flame.
  • When the pressure releases, add cooked green peas and brocolli and mix well.
  • Adjust salt to your taste and add lemon juice and mix well.

2. Preparation of Ghee rice ( Neychor)
  • Heat a wide large vessel( biryani pot), add ghee + oil and add one thinly sliced onion and fry till golden brown(adding pinch of sugar will caramalise faster)..Drain and keep aside.
  • Add cashewnuts and raisins and fry till cashews become light brown and raisin puffed..Drain and keep aside.
  • In same oil, add cardamon,cloves and cinnamon sticks and saute for few seconds ( See pic 2)
  • Add 6 3/4 cups of water in the vessel and let it boil till bubbles comes ( See pic 3)
  • Add salt and add few drops of lemon juice ( to prevent sticking of rice)
  • Add soaked and drained rice into it. Mix it with large spoon and close the lid.( See pic 4)
  • Cook the rice at high flame for 6 to 7mins,taking  care not to get burn..Can open the lid once and toss the rice in between . Cook till water evaporates. (See pic 5)
  • When water evaporates, immediately make into low flame and toss the rice from bottom to top.
  • Close the lid and cook the rice at very low flame for about 5 mins.
  • Off the stove. Rice should be 90 percent cooked..Remaining 10 percent will cook on dum ( very slow flame)

preparation of ghee rice

     3. For Layering the rice and Dum
  • Transfer the rice into the plates,never mind if there is few trace of rice in the vessel ( biryani pot).
  • In same biryani pot, add half of vegetable masala and spread in a circular motion as shown in the pic. ( See pic 1)
  • Add 1/2 of ghee rice on masala and spread in a circular motion as shown in the pic below (See pic 2).  Level and press firmly with a large spoon. Sprinkle little garam masala pdr and little coriander - mint leaves ( don't add all herbs).
  • Repeat the step once more. ( See pic 3)
  • Final topping should be covered with rice..Spread and level it firmly.( See pic 4)
  • Add the final topping with remaining herbs and sprinkle garam masala..Spread caramalised onion,cashews and raisins sparingly.( See pic 4)
  • Sprinkle saffron milk water and rose water sparingly ( optional)
  • Close the lid and cook it in a very slow flame for about 30 mins..This process is called dum.
  • In order to prevent bottom getting burnt during dum, place tawa or steel dum platter ( Its available in most of the Indian store..It has the slotted holes for the flames to pass through).
  • Off the flame and serve it on a plate.Take the rice from bottom to top and serve it.
  • Serve warm with Raita or Chutneys or any other veg or non veg side dish of your choice.

Dum preparation of veg biryani

  • Biryani seemed to be lots of process to some people..But believe me, if you plan it earlier it is easy to prepare.
  • Cutting,chopping and grinding of ingredients can be done at previous night in order to save time or if you have guests next day.
  • Biryani is a easy main meal to prepare if you have lots of guest.
  • You can add any vegetables of your choice.
  • If you are in a hurry or if you don't like, ignore caramilised onions and nuts..But it taste good and looks attractive.

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